Jul 09, 2008

What Goes Into an Interactive Competitive Analysis?

As a follow-up to our Podcast discussing the value of an Interactive Competitive Analysis, I wanted to discuss the efforts that go into the process of performing a interactive competitive analysis. There' s no mystery involved, just a lot of research, tracking, and evaluation. Hundreds of hours of research and preparation, in fact, can go into a comprehensive competitive analysis. The work involved touches on the functionality, usability, popularity, and availability of a brand and its competitors' websites. A deep dig is done to these websites. Everything ranging from site traffic, visitor demographics, and site messaging to site content, site programming, and site tools and usability are examined. This wide range of information is then pooled together to gain a full sense of each website's good and bad elements.

The interactive marketing efforts of a brand's competition is making are also explored, including key terms, search engine ranking, keyword buys, social media efforts, banner ads, and specific campaigns.A variety of tools are utilized to analyze results of competitor efforts and benchmark the interactive advertising of our brand. After compiling a massive amount of data, rankings are developed for best practices for the brand's industry, determining for a series of categories which of the competitors are ahead of the pack and explaining why. The entire competitive analysis process has a huge impact on interactive marketing strategy.All the angles are examined to determine the best direction for a brand's interactive marketing strategy to take.A competitive analysis is able to take a full and objective view of the brand and its industry as a whole, enabling the big picture to come into focus more clearly. Keep in mind that this is competitive analysis, not competitive guesswork.While branding is analyzed subjectively, an objective review can determine, for example, if a competitor's site tools work.The performance of the competition's advertising efforts can also be objectively tracked to determine if these campaigns are good or bad, effective or not.

Once the final analysis is completed, the findings are presented to the brand. After investing in an interactive competitive analysis, it is highly recommended that brands utilize the findings of a competitive analysis to guide their interactive marketing strategy. Three key benefits highlight the importance of utilizing these findings:

  • First, being competitive in the interactive marketing realm involves a major investment.A competitive analysis helps make sure your budget is wisely spent.
  • Second, there is no need to use resources to learn the lessons that have already been learned by others. The key is to pattern your plan on a successful one and come up with a unique spin that is specific to your brand and not blatantly copying any existing campaign. Originality counts.
  • Third, for the brand's interactive marketing agency, the competitive analysis helps it understand an industry' best practices and what a brand's competitors are doing and then use this to fuel the development of original creative ideas for the brand.

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